Power Ranking the Best 5 Fights of All the Current UFC Champs

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIIMay 4, 2012

Power Ranking the Best 5 Fights of All the Current UFC Champs

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    Greatness is defined by championships and gold in every sport, but rather than being remembered for belts, UFC champions will be remembered for their wars.

    Every champion in the UFC has had their fair share of exciting bouts, and it's in those bouts they created their legacy.

    Even fighters as great as Anderson Silva and Jon Jones have been tested by dangerous contenders, and they've been in dog fights.

    From spectacular performances to the gritty battles that test a fighter's skill and will, these are every current UFC champion's greatest fights.

5. Cruz vs. Jorgensen

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    Dominick Cruz doesn't get enough credit for his style.

    Cruz receives criticism because he rarely finishes anyone, but his movement and creative striking makes him exciting to watch.

    Cruz proved that once again when he defended his title against a tough opponent in Scott Jorgensen in the last World Extreme Cagefighting event ever.

    Cruz, once again, showed off his brilliant striking with punches, kicks and beautiful flying knees to get the victory.

    Result: Cruz won via unanimous decision

4. Cruz vs. Bowles

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    Cruz may have won the WEC championship because Brian Bowles broke his hand, but he still owned Bowles.

    The fight lasted but a round, and in that round, Bowles couldn't touch Cruz. Cruz's elusiveness and evasiveness allowed him to keep away from Bowles' dangerous right hand.

    Cruz then did what he always does, and that's use his movement to frustrate his opponent. After breaking his hand in the first round, Bowles was unable to continue, and the doctor stopped the fight, thus making Cruz the new champ.

    Result: Cruz won via second round Doctor's Stoppage

3. Cruz vs. Johnson

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    Any time you get Cruz and Demetrious Johnson scrapping in the Octagon, you can expect to see one thing: speed.

    Cruz and Johnson were flying around the ring with their fast strikes, and the fight saw Cruz dominate the grappling exchanges.

    The highlight of this fight saw Cruz taking Johnson over his head and slamming him to the mat via suplex. It was another slick performance by the champion, and he proved that his kryptonite wasn't speed.

    Result: Cruz won via unanimous decision

2. Cruz vs. Benavidez

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    The second fight between Cruz and Joseph Benavidez failed to live up to the hype, but the first fight between the two was incredible.

    This was before Cruz became the bantamweight champion, and he and Benavidez tore the house down. But for the WEC, this was common place.

    Back and forth these two went, and it was Cruz that was awarded with yet another decision victory.

    Result: Cruz won via unanimous decision

1. Cruz vs. Faber II

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    Very rarely do grudge matches end up living up to the hype, but the second battle between Cruz and Urijah Faber at UFC 132 was fantastic.

    Cruz had to battle adversity, as he was dropped a few times by Faber's right hand, but he willed himself back into the fight. From there, he used his movement to frustrate Faber and landed some brilliant combinations.

    It was a close fight, as both fighters seemed to be evenly matched, which is another reason to get excited for UFC 148 when they settle their grudge once and for all.

    Result: Cruz won via unanimous decision

5. Aldo vs. Swanson

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    Jose Aldo came on the scene in the WEC as if he was shot out of a cannon.

    Aldo was finishing fights left and right, and he put a stamp on the featherweight division in a No. 1 contender's bout against the always dangerous Cub Swanson.

    The fight lasted only eight seconds, but it was one of the more beautiful knockouts you'll see in the sport. Because of that, it deserves recognition in Aldo's greatest fights.

    Right after Swanson and Aldo touched gloves, Aldo launched himself into the air and delivered a perfectly placed flying knee. This would earn Aldo his first title shot in the WEC, and he hasn't looked back since.

    Result: Aldo won via first-round TKO (flying knee)

4. Aldo vs. Brown

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    Before Mike Brown's career took a turn for the worst, he was known to be the best featherweight in the world.

    Why? Well, because he held two victories over Faber, which is something that nobody else can say. That didn't matter, though.

    In Aldo's first title shot in the WEC, Aldo ran through Brown like he was some bum off of the street.

    Result: Aldo via second-round TKO (punches)

3. Aldo vs. Faber

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    As a rabid fan of MMA, there are very seldom fights that make me want to turn my head and look the other way. This was one of those fights.

    After Aldo decimated the featherweight division, he would face his toughest test to date in Faber. But not even Faber couldn't slow this buzzsaw down.

    Aldo connected time and time again with nasty leg kicks that put a grimace on the faces in the crowd. To put it simply, it was brutal, and Aldo used those vicious leg kicks to dominate the former featherweight champion.

    Result: Aldo won via unanimous decision

2. Aldo vs. Mendes

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    One of my favorite sights in the history of the WEC was Aldo running into the crowd after knocking out Rolando Perez, but an even better sight was watching him do it in Brazil after defeating Chad Mendes.

    As for the fight, Mendes' objective was to get this fight to the ground, and he failed to do so. This would ultimately cost him his shot at the championship, as Aldo pulled off another sensational knockout victory.

    After Mendes had Aldo's back, he loosened Mendes' grip, turned toward him and gave him a devastating knee to the face. It was all she wrote for Mendes.

    Result: Aldo won via first-round KO (Knee)

1. Aldo vs. Hominick

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    You can never count Mark Hominick out of a fight.

    Aldo found this out first hand when he fought Hominick at UFC 129. Aldo dominated the fight for four straight rounds, and he dropped Hominick on multiple occasions. Hominick suffered a massive hematoma because of some devastating ground-and-pound, and he looked to be out of the fight.

    But once the last round commenced, Hominick rallied and was delivering some of his own ground and pound on the champion. Aldo survived and was able to reclaim his championship.

    Result: Aldo won via unanimous decision

5. Henderson vs. Varner

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    It's hard to find Benson Henderson in a boring fight.

    After winning the interim championship against Donald Cerrone in what was a fight to be remembered, Henderson fought to unify the WEC lightweight belts against Jamie Varner.

    What ensued was a back-and-forth fight between two great competitors. Henderson finished the fight in the second round when Varner left his neck in sight, and Henderson used his great jiu-jitsu skills to pull off a beautiful standing guillotine submission.

    Result: Henderson via third-round submission (guillotine)

4. Henderson vs. Guida

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    To this day, I'm still upset at the UFC for not putting this fight on Fox.

    The fight between Henderson and Clay Guida aired on Facebook prior to the Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez fight that took place on the UFC's inaugural FOX event.

    Guida and Henderson showed what Velasquez and dos Santos were unable able to show, and that's the full game of MMA. This fight had everything from brawling to wrestling to cage work, and it was a magnificent fight.

    Result: Henderson won via unanimous decision

3. Henderson vs. Edgar

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    This fight is only a few months old, but it's become an instant classic.

    Henderson and Frankie Edgar put it all on the line in Japan, and Henderson was just one step ahead of Edgar throughout the fight.

    His size and strength proved to be the difference-maker, and he was able to win his first UFC championship at UFC 144.

    Result: Henderson won via unanimous decision

2. Henderson vs. Cerrone

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    When you look back at all of the great fights that took place in the WEC, many stand out, but Henderson's fight with Cerrone is truly one of the best.

    Both fighters went through a war of attrition, and this was the fight that showcased Henderson's inability to be submitted. Cerrone put Henderson in multiple submissions, and it was as if Henderson was made of rubber.

    The harder he cranked and torqued, the more Henderson bent, which earned him the nickname "Bendo." It was absolutely mind-blowing that Henderson was able to withstand so many submission attempts, and he pressed on to earn a decision victory.

    Result: Henderson won via unanimous decision

1. Henderson vs. Pettis

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    When people ask me what's the coolest thing I've ever seen in sports, I generally answer with the "Showtime Kick."

    In the last round of what was a fantastic title fight between Henderson and Anthony Pettis, Pettis pulled off the unthinkable. As Stephan Bonnar put it, "he ran off the wall like a ninja," and he connected with one of the sickest kicks in MMA history.

    It earned him the decision victory against Henderson, and it's a fight that will always have a special place in MMA lore. It was the last fight in WEC history, and with all of the great fights that WEC provided for years, I believe the company saved its best performance for last.

    Result: Pettis via unanimous decision

5. Condit vs. Hardy

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    Dan Hardy did something that you should never do when it comes to Carlos Condit: Wake up the beast.

    Up until their fight at UFC 120, Condit was winning fights in the UFC, but he was getting caught and hurt in those fights as well.

    After Hardy talked a lot of trash leading up to their encounter, Condit came into the Octagon with vengeance on his mind, and he put Hardy away early with a vicious hook.

    Result: Condit won via first-round KO (punch)

4. Condit vs. Kampmann

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    Condit was screwed by the judges when he received a loss to Martin Kampmann.

    This was a fight that was Condit's for the taking, but the judges saw it differently.

    Both men exchanged punches and fought each other with everything they had. It was a fantastic fight, and though I believe Condit should have received the decision, I'll admit the fight could have gone either way.

    Result: Kampmann won via split decision

3. Condit vs. Miura

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    If you've never seen the fight between Condit and Hiromitsu Miura in the WEC, it's a fight you need to watch right this second.

    This was truly a battle of attrition, as both fighters gave it everything they had until Condit was able to finish Miura with punches.

    Following the fight, Condit was so exhausted that he could barely raise his hand in victory.

    Result: Condit won via fourth-round TKO (punches)

2. Condit vs. Ellenberger

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    Much like Henderson, Condit is rarely in a boring fight.

    It's just not in his DNA, and though his fight against Nick Diaz wasn't the crowd pleasing affair that many fans were hoping it would be, it was still a good fight.

    But to credit Condit's resume, that fight didn't make the list. Along with the previous three fights, Condit's fight with Jake Ellenberger was better.

    This fight between the two saw Condit comeback after getting hurt badly early, and he edged Ellenberger out the next two rounds.

    Result: Condit won via split decision

1. Condit vs. MacDonald

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    No one could have scripted this fight any better.

    Rory MacDonald took it to Condit for the first two rounds and was on his way to winning a decision victory. But that was before Greg Jackson brought out the "Natural-Born Killer" in Condit before the third round.

    Jackson hollered at Condit in such a way that I've never heard Jackson do to any other fighter before, and it brought out the best in him. Condit then marched his way to middle of the Octagon and put it to MacDonald.

    He pressured him with his relentless style, and he was able to finish MacDonald with brutal ground and pound with just seconds left in the fight.

    Result: Condit won via third-round TKO (punches)

5. GSP vs. Trigg

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    Georges St-Pierre is one of the greatest fighters in MMA history, and with his recent dominations, you have to go back in time to find some of his best fights.

    With that said, GSP's fight with Frank Trigg at UFC 54 was another dominating performance, but it showed that GSP was steadily improving.

    After losing to Matt Hughes at UFC 50, St-Pierre continued to improve and went on a five-fight win streak to find his way back to another title shot.

    In that run, he encountered Trigg, and he turned heads as he demolished the former challenger.

    Result: GSP won via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)

4. GSP vs. Miller

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    One of my favorite St-Pierre fights is his fight at UFC 52 against Jason "Mayhem" Miller.

    This was a technical scrap, and though St-Pierre proved to have better overall skills than Miller, it was still a fight that had memorable moments.

    Such moments include Miller trying to perform a Shawn Micheals kip-up, and getting kicked back down by GSP.

    Result: GSP won via unanimous decision

3. GSP vs. Penn

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    St-Pierre's best performance of his career could be his fight against B.J. Penn at UFC 94, but their first encounter at UFC 58 had more thrills.

    Penn came in right away and was getting the better of GSP in the first round. He bloodied St-Pierre and had him hurt, but GSP showed the heart of a champion in the next two rounds.

    GSP came out and won the next two rounds to earn himself a split decision, and one of MMA's more memorable rivalries was born.

    Result: GSP won via split decision

2. GSP vs. Hughes II

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    I'll always remember the moment St-Pierre won his first UFC title.

    He came out and flat-out dominated legend Matt Hughes by stuffing takedowns and getting the better of him in the striking game.

    GSP won the title when he looked low and delivered a high kick that sent Hughes reeling. From there, he poured on some vicious ground-and-pound and the celebration began.

    Result: GSP won via second-round TKO (head kick and punches)

1. GSP vs. Fitch

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    Who would have ever though that Jon Fitch and GSP could put on such an entertaining fight?

    Both fighters are criticized for their styles not being exciting, but the fight they had at UFC 87 was far from boring.

    St-Pierre dominated the fight and dropped Fitch time and time again. But it was Fitch's heart that made the fight so intriguing. He refused to give up, and he battled with GSP until the last horn sounded.

    Result: GSP won via unanimous decision

5. Silva vs. Fryklund

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    Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter in MMA history.

    But before he claimed that title, he was fighting in Cage Rage, where he met a man named Tony Fryklund.

    This is when Silva performed what is perhaps the greatest knockout in MMA history. There's been a lot of stellar knockouts, but I don't think any highlight can top Silva's elbow on Fryklund.

    Result: Silva won via first-round KO (elbow)

4. Silva vs. Griffin

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    Of all of Silva's mind-numbing performances, his destruction of Forrest Griffin was something I thought I'd never see.

    Granted, Griffin isn't the best fighter in the world, but at that time, he was considered to be one of the best fighters at light heavyweight. That was, until he stepped into the Octagon with Silva.

    Just like he swooped in straight out of the Matrix, Silva dodged Griffin's strikes and countered them with perfectly placed punches that sent Griffin to the mat. If you would have seen it in a movie, you would have said, "this is ridiculous; that would never happen in real life."

    Result: Silva won via first-round KO (punch)

3. Silva vs. Belfort

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    Is this Silva's greatest fights or greatest knockouts?

    The fights showcased so far have all been dominant performances, but the sheer awesomeness of these knockouts are legendary.

    In the fight between Silva and Belfort at UFC 126, Silva pulled off the first front kick knockout in UFC history, and it turned the MMA world upside down on its head. I don't know what was cooler, the knockout or the staredown by both fighters at the weigh ins.

    Result: Silva won via first-round KO (front kick)

2. Silva vs. Henderson

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    Silva's fight against Dan Henderson was the first time fans saw Silva tested inside the Octagon.

    Henderson was able to win the first round against Silva, as he was able to put Silva on his back and work his top game for the majority of the round. However, the second round told a completely different story.

    Silva was able to connect with some vicious punches and kicks, and he would eventually sink in a rear-naked choke for the victory.

    Result: Silva won via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)

1. Silva vs. Sonnen

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    As if there was any doubt.

    One of the greatest championship fights in UFC history took place when Chael Sonnen dominated Anderson Silva for four-and-a-half rounds.

    After talking so much trash, Sonnen went in against Silva and backed up every word he said by dropping Silva with punches and pounding Silva's face into the mat.

    Silva showed the true heart of a champion when he pulled off a last-minute triangle choke to tap Sonnen out and reclaim his belt. I would go as far as to say it was perhaps the most exciting moment in the young sport's history.

    Result: Silva won via fifth-round submission (triangle)

5. Jones vs. Rampage

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    Though Silva is the greatest fight in MMA history, when it's all said and done, Jon Jones might very well hold that claim.

    Jones is a gifted athlete that has passed every challenge thrown his way, and at the age of 24, he's already about to clean out the light heavyweight division.

    In his fight against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, he taught the veteran exactly why he's the next big thing. Jones picked Jackson apart on his feet and thoroughly dominated Jackson. Heck, he even pulled guard at one point.

    Jones became the first man to finish Rampage inside the Octagon, and the sky is truly the limit for this guy.

    Result: Jones won via fourth-round submission (rear-naked choke)

4. Jones vs. Shogun

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    Have you ever seen anyone destroy Mauricio "Shogun" Rua the way Jones did at UFC 128?

    The answer to that rhetorical question is no. Jones put an incredible beating on Rua with punches, kicks, flying knees and punches.

    Rua was beaten so badly that right after Herb Dean jumped in to save him, you could see him tap the canvas. That's a sight I never though I would see, and that speaks to the pure brutality that Jones inflicts on his opponents.

3. Jones vs. Bonnar

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    Jones' fight against Stephan Bonnar opened everyone's eyes that witnessed UFC 94.

    Jones used unorthodox throws, along with his unpredictable striking to dominate Bonnar, and it was easy to see that this guy was unlike anything we've ever witnessed before.

    The highlight of the fight was Jones patented spinning back elbow that sent Bonnar to the canvas. It's a move that has sort of defined Jones creativeness and uniqueness in the UFC.

    Result: Jones won via unanimous decision

2. Jones vs. Machida

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    This was perhaps the first time in Jones' UFC career that he was tested.

    Lyoto Machida used his movement and striking to frustrate the champion in the first round, and he caught Jones with a good shot to let him know that he was in a fight.

    Jones decided to take the fight to the ground and cut him with a vintage elbow. From then, Jones knew Machida was human, and he finished Machida with a variation of a standing guillotine.

    Result: Jones via second-round technical submission (guillotine)

1. Jones vs. Evans

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    The fight between Jones and Rashad Evans lived up to the hype.

    Evans connected with a few significant strikes, but it was Jones that controlled this fight. With his elbows and long reach, he got the better of Evans on the feet.

    It was perhaps Jones' toughest fight to date, but even saying that, Jones was still able to win this fight in convincing fashion.

    Result: Jones won via unanimous decision

5. JDS vs. Velasquez

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    Junior dos Santos is a wrecking ball that ends fights quickly.

    Because of this, he really doesn't have a lot of great fights, but what he does have is a lot of sensational one-punch knockouts.

    One of those knockout highlights came during the UFC's first live broadcast on FOX, where he faced champion Cain Velasquez. Dos Santos landed an overhand right to Velasquez's temple, and it was far too much for Velasquez to recover from.

    Result: JDS won via first-round KO (punches)

4. JDS vs. Werdum

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    Dos Santos' knockout against Fabricio Werdum featured one of the most devastating uppercuts you'll ever see.

    This was dos Santos' first fight in the UFC, and he introduced himself to UFC fans the best way possible.

    Dos Santos went up against a well-known dangerous guy, but dos Santos would be the one to get his hand raised.

    Result: JDS won via first-round TKO (punches)

3. JDS vs. Cro Cop

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    A fight between Mirko Cro Cop and JDS was thought to be a fight of the year candidate.

    Sadly, it wasn't that exciting, but it was still an entertaining bout. Dos Santos out-struck one of the most legendary strikers in the history of the heavyweight division.

    He would eventually win the fight after a knee to the eye followed by punches that would cause Cro Cop to lose vision.

    Result: JDS won via third-round Submission (punch)

2. JDS vs. Yvel

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    Though it didn't last long, the fight between dos Santos and Gilbert Yvel was action-packed.

    Yvel came in like he was the most dangerous striker in the heavyweight division, but dos Santos showed him that his hands are far more lethal than Yvel's strikes.

    After exchanging strikes back and forth, dos Santos countered Yvel with a lightning fast left hook. The lights dimmed for Yvel, and the referee saved him from further damage.

    Result: JDS won via first-round TKO (punches)

1. JDS vs. Nelson

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    Dos Santos striking vs. Roy Nelson's heart made for quite an entertaining scrap at UFC 117.

    This fight looked to be just like all other dos Santos fights, when JDS dropped Nelson in the first round and lit Nelson up against the cage with one devastating shot after another.

    But you can never discredit Nelson's heart, as he proved to be too tough for dos Santos to finish and continued to push forward. Dos Santos would end up defeating Nelson, but Nelson's courage and warrior spirit should be admired.

    Result: JDS won via unanimous decision